The Railway Protection Force (RPF) seized over 500 birds from a Calcuttabound train and arrested a person in this connection from Malda Town station on Tuesday night.
V.B. Sharma, an inspector of the RPF, said hundreds of birds, mostly parakeets and a hill mynah — a rare avian species — were recovered from a coach of the Jogbani Express that runs between Jogbani in Bihar and Calcutta.
“We raided the train at Malda Town station and recovered the birds kept in seven cages from a sleeper coach. We have arrested Sheikh Sahid who is suspected to be associated with a bird smuggling racket. He has revealed that the birds were loaded on the train at Katihar station. He was supposed to get down at Burdwan. We will interrogate him further to find out where the consignment was to be delivered,” Sharma added.
The RPF sources said altogether 510 birds were kept in the cages.
“The smuggler had covered the heads of the birds to prevent the birds from chirping. The RPF has done a good job,” said Subhasish Sengupta, an ornithologist based in Malda.
Later, the RPF handed over the birds and Sahid to officials of the state forest department.